Nowhere else in Europe do you get the immediate feeling of having traveled 400 years back in time as strongly as in Venice. The city has hardly changed its appearance since the 17th century, and both cars, high-rise buildings and neon signs sparkle with their absence.
Although major corporations such as McDonald’s and H&M have made their entry into Venice, they are required to have a neutral facade, which slides into the cityscape. The city is built on 118 islands, it has around 400 bridges and over 150 canals, with the Grand Canal as the “main street”.
Venice can be experienced on a long weekend, or you can spend a week or two. Either way, you will not get all of what Venice has to offer.
Venice is not very large in size, and it lives there no more than approx. 55,000 inhabitants in the historic part of the city. The number of inhabitants has halved in the last 50 years.
And ironically, the city’s biggest problem is also its most important source of revenue, namely tourist traffic. Every day, more than 25,000 visitors arrive in Venice, and the city’s streets, bridges and squares are fierce. Therefore, the city has levied a special tourist tax for tourists paid through hotels and tour operators. In addition, erosion and flooding are a constant problem that threatens Venice’s existence, so take the opportunity to visit this beautiful and unique city before it’s too late.
Get to know Venice
It is strange to think that Venice, which today relies on tourism to survive, was once an independent republic and one of Europe’s most powerful cities. The ships rolled into the city’s harbor full of spices and treasures from the East, and the inhabitants adorned the buildings and made one palace more lavish than the other.
Everywhere you find artwork from this time, both in the architecture itself, and in the countless museums, galleries, churches and palaces.
At first glance, Venice may seem like an unstructured maze of narrow streets, canals and bridges. And of course it’s easy to lose track of it; most people will experience it if they stroll around on their own. But don’t be afraid to get lost, it’s actually an experience we recommend to all visitors!
A good starting point is to use the S-shaped Grand Canal as a landmark and remember the location of the six boroughs in relation to it. To the north lies Cannaregio, to the east San Marco and Castello, to the southwest is Dorsoduro and to the west San Polo and Santa Croce.
- Abbreviation: VCE
- Country: Italy
St. Mark’s Square – Piazza San Marco
The natural starting point is Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square. This is the place where most of us get their first meeting with the city. It is often called the heart of Venice. Napoleon called the place Europe’s main living room. The Venetians themselves call it just Il Piazza. Most tourists start and end their Venice visit here. During the day, the place is full of guided tour groups, sellers, photographers and pigeons.
Outside of the upscale and bustling restaurants, a string quartet often entertains its guests with classical music. The price level here is considerably higher than in the rest of the city, so be prepared for a small price shock if you fall for the temptation and sit down at Caffe Florian and order a coffee or birra grande. Caffe Florian has been unchanged in the middle of St. Mark’s Square since 1720.
At St. Mark’s Square you will also find world-famous attractions such as St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, the 99-meter-high bell tower of Campanile and the Bridge of Sighs. At the water’s edge, the gondolas are located in close proximity and offer tourists half-hour tours at high prices. The view of Isola Di San Giorgio Maggiore and its Gothic church on the other side of Bacino Di San Marco is brilliant.
Castello district of Venice
If you continue the beautiful walk east from the piers at St. Mark’s Square, you will soon reach the Castello district, which has very few tourists compared to San Marco. Here you will find, among others, Arsenale, which a few hundred years ago was one of the world’s largest industrial plants and shipyards.
From here, the Venetian Navy sailed out into the city’s superpowers. Just next door is the historic Maritime Museum, and further east there are several quiet, green parks with turtle ponds, statues, fountains and flower gardens. The Giardino Publico park was commissioned by Napoleon in 1797. To the east lies the football field on which Venice’s mediocre football team plays its home games.
Piazzale Rome and the Cannaregio district of Venice
On the opposite side of town, to the west, you will find the terminus for all motorists, Piazzale Roma, and the train station. Both are connected to the mainland via a long bridge over the lagoon. North of Piazzale Rome, the train station and the Grand Canal you will find perhaps the most authentic Venice, the Cannaregio district. Here are most of the city’s less expensive restaurants, peaceful little streets and some architectural gems of church buildings. The laundry hangs to dry on cords across the streets.
Ghetto – Jewish Quarter
On the piers on the north side of the island is Fondamenta Nove, where boats regularly go to the other islands of the lagoon. Here you will find the Ghetto Quarter, where the Jews were required to stay. In retrospect, the term ghetto has become tantamount to a neighborhood where a foreign group of people has gathered. Because of the population, they had to expand in height. The ghetto is therefore the only area in the city with residential buildings on more than six floors. Much of Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” has been added to this district.
Venice has only four bridges across the Grand Canal. The central and most famous of these is the Ponte di Rialto, which connects San Marco with the San Polo district. The area at the Rialto Bridge is the city’s old shopping center, and there are still hundreds of market stalls selling everything from glassware, carnival masks and souvenirs to exclusive jewelry stores, shoe stores and fashion stores. There are also fruit, vegetable and fish markets. Otherwise, the area is characterized by cafes and restaurants.
In San Polo, the city’s largest piazza is located outside St. Mark’s Square, Campo de San Polo. Here is also the house that supposedly should have been the home of the legendary Casanova.
Santa Croce and Dorsoduro in Venice
In the less-visited tourist district of Santa Croce lies the city’s second largest church, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari from the 1300s. The church has magnificent works of art by masters such as Titian, Donatello and Bellini.
Finally, we have the southwest quarter, Dorsoduro, best known for its art galleries Accademica and the Guggenheim Museum. Campo Santa Margherita with its many cafes and terraces has become a gathering place for the city’s students and also attracts younger tourists.
This is the district for strolling randomly in narrow alleys and over bridges and canals with frequent stops at small wine bars where for once during your Venice stay you will be positive about the bar bill.
Facts about Venice
Venice is the capital of the Italian region of Veneto. Venice was a great power back in time, and the city testifies to the grandeur and wealth of the past. Venice is a city one can visit and again and again!
|Population||About. 250,000 people, but just over 50,000 in the historic center.|
|Religion||Catholic (About 90%)|
|Currency||Euro. Most credit cards (Visa, Master, Diners, AmEx) are accepted in most places. ATMs are available almost everywhere.|
|Tips||Here it is not expected that you give tips as service is included in the bill, but it is still normal to give about 10% if you are satisfied.|
|Embassy||The Embassy of Norway is located in Rome. The address is Via delle Terme Deciane 7. Tel: +39 0657 17031.|
|Tourist||Piazza San Marco 71.|
|Emergency||118 for ambulance, 113 for police / emergency assistance, 115 for fire|
|Electricity||220 volts as in Norway, but you often need an adapter due to different plugs.|
|Holidays and Holidays||January 6, April 25, May 1, June 2, August 15, November 1, December 8.|
|Visa||not required for Norwegian citizens|
|Vaccinations||No vaccines are required.|
|Water||Can be drunk from the tap, but not recommended. Fine toothbrush.|
|Nearest major cities||Sad, Verona, Bologna.|
List of Venice Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Venice is VCE which stands for Venice. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Venice, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.